Click here to go back to the AFC Heritage Trust Homepage Aberdeen Football Club Heritage Trust Logo  
AFC - Match Report
match report 1937-38 fixture list
Empire Exhibition Tournament Semi Final 
Everton 3 - 2 Aberdeen
Kick Off:    Gillick 1, Boyes 50, Lawton 57.       Armstrong 8, Strauss 28.  
Attendance: 20,000
Venue: Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow



Bad luck, allied with a failure to round off clever approach work, was responsible for Aberdeen's exit in the semi-final of the Empire Exhibition tournament at Ibrox Park last night. Everton were their conquerors, but it cannot be said that in winning the English team demonstrated any definite superiority over the Dons.
They possessed a speed and thrust which was lacking in much of Aberdeen's forward play, but the Dons had the more skilful combination, and this brought them more scoring chances.
Had these been accepted Aberdeen and not Everton would have lined up against Celtic in the final on Friday.
The players had to contend with difficult ground conditions - a heavy pitch and a greasy ball. Despite this, however, the standard of play was high, and a crowd of 20,000 enjoyed a hard, thrilling match, in which the issue vas open until the very last kick.


The Dons, although beaten, were by no means disgraced, and they can look forward to the new season with a fair degree of confidence.
In Cooper Aberdeen had the best back afield. He never faltered, and, kicking and tackling confidently, emerged with flying colours against the clever and elusive Boyes.
Adey is of the dashing, first time type, and although he could not contend with Gillick in the opening period he improved after the interval.
Nicholson was a tower of strength in defence, and gave Lawton few chances. Thomson and Dunlop were a pair of hardworking wing halves.
Aberdeen have made a capture in Hamilton, former Queen of the South player. He was clever on the ball, and his distribution was first-rate. With Smith, he struck up a telling partnership, and the outside right will thrive on the excellent service he receives from Hamilton.
Armstrong was too well watched by Jones to be dangerous, but he took his goal well.
Hume, secured by Aberdeen from Hearts, was at his best in the first half, when he showed himself a strong and forceful inside forward. Strauss on the wing was lively raider, and more like his old self, although he did not accept possible scoring chances with his one-time acumen.
Everton stalwarts were Cook, Mercer, Jones, Gillick, Cunliffe and Boyes. Mercer was the outstanding half-back on view, his ability to open up play being one of the features of the game.


Play opened in sensational fashion. Everton kicked off and immediately made tracks for Johnstone. Cunliffe sent the ball past Adey in clever fashion, and Gillick gathered it and sent in a fierce drive. Johnstone managed to push the ball to the right, and it struck Cooper, bounced on to the post, and into the net.
In sic minutes the Dons, who with the wind had forced the issue after the loss of the goal, got on level terms.
Thomson gathered the ball on the left and swept it out to Smith, who was lying unmarked. Sagar failed to intercept the right-winger's low cross, and Armstrong turned the ball into the net from three yards' range.
The Dons almost took the lead following another right-wing rally. Smith beat Thomson and Greenhalgh smartly, and sent the ball into the middle. Armstrong got his foot to it but Mercer intercepted, and when Sagar dropped the ball Hume and Strauss were after it like a flash. Fortunately for the Englishmen, Cook managed to scrape the ball clear.
A long ball from Mercer beat Nicholson, and with Gillick unmarked the Dons were in grave danger of falling in arrears. The winger, however, instead of delivering a shot, sent the ball out to Boyes, and the latter shot high over.
Aberdeen went ahead in twenty-six minutes. Armstrong started the movement by sending the ball back to Adey. The back swung it down the middle, and Hamilton cleverly sent it out to Smith. The winger was lying unmarked in the middle, but when he passed instead of shooting, a great chance seemed lost. A scramble followed, and Strauss saved the situation.
Lying on the right, he cut the ball goalwards, and it beat Sagar and entered the net via the post.
Everton were unlucky not to draw level when a sweeping cross by Boyes put Stevenson in possession. The inside-right sent the ball on to Gillick and, although Johnstone made a gallant effort to beat the right-winger to the ball, he was too late. Gillick turned it goalwards, and it struck the post with the goal unoccupied. Until the interval Aberdeen did the bulk of the pressing, but failed to increase their lead.
With the wind Everton started strongly, and Stevenson missed a good chance when he shot past after good play on the right. The inside-left was through a minute later and only a timely intervention by Nicholson saved the score.

Near Thing

The Dons' reply was a swift as it was dangerous. Strauss raced in from the right and slipped the ball to Hamilton who sent it crashing against the post with Sagar beaten. This was followed by Strauss heading past from a cross by Smith.
Everton got on level terms in five minutes. Johnstone failed to grip a flag kick from Gillick and sat down abruptly. The ball went out to Boyes and the left-winger sent it flashing into an empty goal.
The English players went ahead in eleven minutes and it was a bonny goal. Mercer went striding down the right wing, shook off a challenge by Hume and swung the ball into the middle for Lawton to head into the net.
The Dons attacked strongly and Sagar was lucky to get a second chance when he dropped a shot from Smith after skilful combination by the Aberdeen right wing pair.
Twice Strauss got clear away and twice the South African failed to bring out the equaliser. The first time Armstrong put him through with a splendid pass and with nobody to beat he sent the ball too far ahead and Sagar cleared.


The second chance was also of the gilt-edged nature. Smith took the ball from Greenhalgh and drew Cook before sending out to Strauss. The left-winger had a clear run in on goal but failed to gather the ball.
The Dons were desperate for the equaliser after Adey had missed with a terrific shot. Hamilton gathered a slip from Armstrong in his own half of the field and ran clean through only for Sagar to run from his goal and save. It was a magnificent effort.
Boyes broke away for Everton in the closing stages and when Johnstone left his charge the winger sent in a fierce drive. Nicholson had taken up position and attempted to fist the ball over, he missed it and it crashed against the crossbar.

Source: Press & Journal, 7th June 1938

Everton Teamsheet:  Ted Sagar, Billy Cook, Norman Greenhalgh, Joe Mercer, Tommy Jones, Jock Thomson, Torry Gillick, Jimmy Cunliffe, Tommy Lawton, Alex Stevenson, Wally Boyes.


Aberdeen Teamsheet:  Johnstone, Cooper, Adey, Dunlop, Nicholson, Thomson, Smith, Hamilton, Armstrong, Hume, Strauss.

Unused Subs:


Referee: A.J.Jewell, London

Related Links: